Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Language Confusion

I do enjoy traveling south of the border, but it always seems to be impossibly hard looking the way I look with a second language that is Korean, not Spanish, not Portuguese. It always feels like I've done something very wrong to end up where I am, talking as I do, and not fitting in even though I look the part more than anyone else. 

This was the trouble with showing up in São Paulo. My coworker meets me at the airport after several various farces in communication. 

"I'm at the Starubucks."

"I'm standing in front of the Starbucks."

"But you are not here."

"It's across from the Red Lobster."

"What is a lobster of red?"

In other words, it took awhile but we finally met. He went to work and sent me on to my hotel where I hoped to check in and get food. 

Things I forgot about Brazil. Eating times. Brazil eats between 12:00 and 15:00. Then everything closes until 19:00. It was now, 11:30, I'd just gotten off a 20 hours flight where my last meal was easily 18 hours ago, I was hungry, tired, an little fatigued and still, in spite of trying, didn't speak Portuguese. This means, of course, additional waiting and additional frustration and me getting hangry which all boils down to, bad time. 

Finally, I sulked in my room until noon and then ate the only thing on the menu I recognized which was frozen ceviche (not exactly how that is supposed to be done). This makes me smile and think of a note from the Guitarist ("I don't like to eat seafood when I'm this far from the sea.") 

Later I do what I am good at doing before being left on my own to feel like I'm bad at what I'm doing. If my goal is to make English more accessible, than why oh why do I keep ending up in places where everyone invests in the language but no one can speak it. 

Do I need to do more? Probably. 

In the meantime, I have cold fish, cold booze, and a country to play in. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Up and Over

Sitting in an airport lounge on a Sunday afternoon, when I would really most rather be sitting on my couch under a pile of dogs.

Sitting in an airport lounge watching the temperature tick up to 100 in the windy city.

Sitting in an airport lounge, working my weekend away.

Sitting in an airport lounge looking down an almost 20 hours flight.

Sitting in an airport lounge typing away.

Sitting in an airport lounge thinking about all the things I miss in this city when I am not here. All the things, all the people, all the places, the little pieces of this place I want to be home that I am starting to think of as home.

Sitting and waiting to fly.

Such a familiar feeling.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


She had a history, but she had not past. 

It's a funny thing, to see all the words here. This is all history. Theoretically, it is even my past, but it doesn't feel like the past. It doesn't feel like the life I lived. It's the story of someone else's life, while mine just goes on and one. It's just words like rain, falling in the dark, making wet puddles on streets of memory I refuse to travel on.

Laying in bed with the Guitarist, trading stories of our histories, my history rarely goes back more than ten years, his history goes back so much further. And there in lies the difference between me and everyone, history has always been a safe place, but not the past.

Somewhere, somehow, I lost my past in favor of my history and the pursuit of who I am. Somewhere in the sunrise ahead lies a future I cannot predict. Tomorrow I wake up inside history that I am living, moments that will become history and my interaction in those moments is as meaningless as a butterfly floating currents in the wind. Float for word, never back words, let the past be dust and the history be sand floating through the never ending hourglass that turns, and turns, and turns, and turns.

Friday, June 15, 2018


A thing I think I have learned that has merit is that there are different ways people fit together physically. That half of our lives and our loves and our obsessions are around how we fit together as humans. If you don't take a chance on trying everything you want, you miss the deeper problem of how people relate, how they fit, how they work together.

This is the thing that I have fully understood, and it's a strange thing to comprehend.

It's about connection.

"It always seemed you had the best time with the ones you connect with," Calembour described it once.

This was a correct description. I can tell it from reading through myself, every time I write about an experience it was because there was a connection. These connections were always fleeting and they disappeared so quickly. Until...

This is the difference between now and then. Then I needed to know so much more.

Now, I want so much more.

The desires is only satisfactory to such a small degree.

The connection is the thing that makes living meaningful.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dull Life

This was the only interesting thing to happen today. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


There was  some kind of breakthrough. I don’t know how to describe it. If it was something in me that was finally seeing clearly, or something in you that was finally projecting the right way, but there was a moment when there was suddenly  a complete and utter openness into your soul. Like blood magick, like sex magick, there was almost certainly magick involved.

“Do you mind if I burn sage?”

“Not at all.”

I watch as you swirl it around yourself and I think about the smell of sage and what it means to me. The memories that the smell evokes. Deserts from my youth, rituals from my youth. Cleansing out the ghost of the past. Opening ways for the future.

You pass the sage to me and it is in my hand, white sage. This is as familiar to me as time. Breathing in, breathing out, the warm salty, musty cedar drifts in front of me. This piece I hold, watching the ember burn close to my fingers.

“It’s really hard not to invoke the four corners with this.”

“Oh, you practiced magick?”

“Practice. I still do. I hate to be a stereotype, but here I am stereotypical. A goth girl, bisexual, pagan, hedonist. Stereotypes exist for a reason.”

“Sometimes I think I’m a stereotype.”

“Which one?”

Sage is burning in my hand and I can’t help myself, I hold it to the four corners and close it in the Earth sigils and then I ask where I can let it burn. Dangerous magick, intuitive magick.

There is something waking up inside of me that has been denied for so long and I can’t tell if it is you or the other events in my life. We are perfect together. We are entirely mismatched. I talk too much, my loquaciousness seems to fill a space of silence; inadequacy bubbles under the surface. You tell a story with a parsimonious usage of language that I envy in the moment.

I babble before you like a brook.

“Can we look at the stars now?”

On a bed, we lay back and look at the glow of the stars shining above us, in the crook of your arm, safe, contained, vulnerable. This time is quiet, there are no words, either yours or mine. I’m comfortable with this silence. We listen to the music droning on in the background and the stars thrum overhead.

“What are you thinking about?”

“That I want to sketch you.” And it’s true. My fingers have traced the lines of your muscles and your views pulsing under skin, looking at your profile thinking about the turn of your muscles as you bend, as you stretch, exhausted, invigorated.  

Later, I exhaust myself over you, you with a view of me, my hair a strange dark cloud around my face, the room full of the smell of sex and sweat and sage, and as I feel like I’m about to finish a marathon and achieve my goal, desperate to keep my eyes open, I am suddenly very far away. In your arms and not in your arms, in your bed and not in your bed, in my mind and not in my mind.

And then I have a vision.

Across my mind, I hear myself screaming out “I can see again.” And I know what I mean as I watch my vision unfold.

Flying over a field of trees that unfolds before me, there is smoke rising up in spots from the trees and large mountains in the distance. Music punctuates weird places of silence and there is such strange tranquility. I am the bridge floating above this,  a breeze. The air smells of human smoke but none of this feels threatening. I glide out into the forest, confronted by the sea, oceans slamming and cresting against a shore and suddenly there is the blackness of a city eventually, but somehow in the city the connection is better, the connection is stronger, the city doesn’t feel quite so foreign the city feels even more like home and homecoming is not bitter. There is connection here.

“I’m sorry.” I come back from my vision in tears. I don’t know how long I have been gone, I don’t know how to explain to you what has happened.
“I’m sorry,” as I lay next to you and curl into your arms and let the tears happen because I am so happy in this moment because it has been decades since I have really seen and I’m overwhelmed. I’m not entirely sure I understand. But I do. And I can’t explain without words.

Something, something, something, opened, like a Rosetta Stone, interpretation happens and it all falls into place. Earlier I had said, rashly, rudely, that I didn’t know how to read you. That you were beyond my ability to read. I am a good read of people. I have to be for my work and my life, and everything that I do. I was wrong, I was being belligerent, I was closing myself off to something obvious, to the communication that was there. I wanted words.

Words mean nothing.

Actions mean everything.

This was what I learned in my vision. That, and more. There is much in this vision. It has been so long, so long, since I have had a vision in waking time, not in dream time. It’s easier to ignore dreams. It’s harder to ignore what you know in your waking time.

You were communicating. I was ignoring you. This is what I learned from my vision.

The moment was so much, and too exhausting for me to process fully there. Only later could I appreciate all that we had said. Not just because we had talked but because there was so much communication that had nothing to do with talking and I wasn’t listening. I processed again, listening to all of it.

Somehow, this is part of the fabric of what I need. Not the only part, but an important part.

I can finally hear it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Ghosts of Korea

Sitting in Chicago and watching the news is wrenching. I can't even really describe all the feelings I have around this. Thirteen years Korea was home. There is so much I learned there. So much I learned incorrectly. So much I got right.

So much love.

So much laughter.

The quiet joys of sharing a home.

The quiet joys of adopting a dog.

The quiet joys of weekends spent driving through the mountains.

And then the bottom fell out and it seems like five years I was living in Korea, but more like I was chasing Korea. Trying not to let it get away from me.




Then a cafe in Itaweon overlooking Seoul.

Then a plane.

Then a new job.

Then dissolving for three more years.

The funny thing is I moved out of Korea, but it wasn't until three years later that I left Korea.

The relationships.

The entanglements.

The memories.

An ability I now have is to encapsulated the experiences of a dozen years in one bullet point on my resume.

Now, three years on, I feel free of Korea, and yet, it is hard for me to read the news, look at the news, see the news and not think of what North and South Korea from my very personal experiences of North and South Korea.

Watching JSA.

Hording Ramen.

The first nuclear test.

The first test launch of a missile over Japan.

Threats, and threats, and threats of a turning my home into a sea of fire.

The fishing boat.

The tunnels.

The death of Kim Jong Il.

Watching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol while waiting to see if the bombs would drop.

Updating an evacuation plan once a year.

Kim Jong Un.

The murders.

The strikes.

There is so much that can happen in thirteen years. Lives made, relationships that are practically grown adults, grown over time, shaping, learning, maturing, changing, like the relationship itself. Moving together in some ways. Apart in others.

I moved close to Korea, I loved Korea, I had a passion for shin of the land built over time and acceptance. It was a place of many feelings.

The news is worrisome. Dictators moving and shaking and building up new powers and new joined forces and the implications of this terrify my. Looking back on the past in a place I loved, wondering if it is strong enough for what is coming.

Change is inevitable and Korea is about to become the fabled river of Heraclitus. The news upsets me because I don't know what is coming. It upsets me because it make clear how much as changed. Lends the realness to inability to ever traverse places that have ghosts to haunt me.

The new ghosts could be so much worse.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Thunderstorms have been rolling through the area for days, bringing odd flashes of light all times of night. Lying in bed, staring out the window, thinking about the moon, I listen to the rain falling against the house and the warm soft sighs of my sleeping puppies. It feels like a trance, lying in bed, watching the lights make shapes in the black.







Around me the are has that gunpowder smell. The smell of ozone and power and strength that is the smell of a Thunderstorm.

I remember,

I remember,

I remember,

Once when I was eight I remember standing in the middle of a dirt road at the top of a mountain. Wearing various sundry rags, legs scratched up from climbing trees, my fingernails a ratty dirty mess. The sky boiled that day, grey on black on grey with hints of green at the edges. The winds were not whipping yet, it was that quiet lull before the storm. I stood and inhaled. Exhaled. The dirt, inhale, the summer exhale. The ozone smell, the thunder. A little girl wondering what it would be like to ride a lightening bolt to safety. 

Waves break me out of my trance, keeping me from going back to far. I listen to the waves beat against the lake shore, loud and angry and forced by wind. Power, there too, boiling under the surface of the water, like the memories that float on the front of a thunder storm.

Lighting in the sky above.

Cool rain falling.

The ever restless motion of the inland sea.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Time Processing

Here in that place now where I'm almost fairly sure I am madly in-love again, or maybe just mad. Madly maybe. There is nothing wrong with it though, the mad process of thinking about the difference you think now about they way someone snorts when they laugh and the first time you heard it. Or the reply that is so subtle in its shade of meeting while being just slightly out of reach if you are not paying attention. Or perhaps the way one flips their hair. The tilt of a cap at you. The smile. The way the eyes open when they see your eyes. The first time someone leans back into you and your body holds them, together, silent, touching, just being there.

That place constructed of mad emotion documenting first connection for playback on fiftieth, sixtieth. It's all part of a little fabric that creates the beginning of those little bonds that weave into a fabric that is wonderful, strange, and forever lasting. Even when the threads are frayed, they are still there.

Isn't that, right there, that thing that we create in our loves and our communities and our lovers and our obsessions, isn't that the thing that all the best stories are built on: that moment when, after years, two people look into each others and a lifetime falls in place?

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Drunken Russian Princes

Lying in a bed that is not my own, watching the host of the party tell stories to a small captured audience, his silhouette is Elvis Costello with a better nose, I smile and drift and...

Later we sit in a different room, talking thrums back and forth and...

"I should probably go," I whisper, maybe whisper, my voice sometimes feels like it's there and not there and too there.

"You sure?"


It's part exhaustion from the thrum that has been my week, part too much wine, part too much socializing, part too much figuring out how to socialize.

"Alright, let's get your stuff."

A call a car as I carefully place it foot down unfamiliar stairs, spill on to the street. Wait.

The car pulls up and I hop in and we start to move but about half a block away he suddenly pulls over. I worry a little, wait, wonder a bit...

"I'm sorry," he says with a slight accent.

"Is everything okay?"

"My last passenger. This girl. She was really drunk. Too drunk. She left her bag." He holds it up over the seat at me.


"Do you mind, she was so drunk I should have checked twice she had everything. do you mind if we take this back to her house?"

"No, not at all."

"She was just so drunk-"

"It's really okay."

"Thanks, thanks so much. I'll give you a free ride home."

"You don't have to do that."

But he insisted. As he started to drive he passed the bag back to me to see if I could find anything useful and confirm her address. He had a sense of where he had just been, but the information no longer being useful he had to try to recreate it through his upset.

"I have a license and an address. Ugh and her phone." It will be fun when she notices that is missing.

"Good, Great."

I navigate and in less then a few minutes we pull into one of those old Chicago townhouses, immaculate garden, beautiful Floyd Right influenced prairie style. White flowers were twinkling in the soft garden light that made the front of the house look as if it was full of fairies.

"I'll be back in a moment."

"Actually, maybe I should. A surprise woman may be less surprising at 1 a.m."

"Yes, yes, good idea."

License in hand, I took the stairs and walked towards the classic artdeco stained glass. I could see in: light shining down from a glass chandelier on hardwood floors, a table, a vase, flowers. Immaculate, perfect. I wonder what kind of life it must be to live in such a polished place. So finished, without small piles of books and magazines and letters and the daily ephemera of a life that is being lived. When I see these types of homes I always think of antiseptic, a place scrubbed so clean it is free of everything including living.

As I stand peaking through the windows into the little castle in the middle of the city, the must be owner of the purse, her shoes in hand, she teeters a bit as she shuts the door. I knock on the door. She pauses and looks up. I hear a dog barking somewhere. She doesn't turn around to see me, but I can still see her.

I knock again. The dogs suddenly bound into view, two humongous Great Danes, running up to investigate their resident and the sudden noise. I knock again, this time on the window. She turns and the dogs run at the window. Squinting at me, I think she might decide to call the police, so I slap her ID against the window. Eyes wide she comes to the door.

"Yes," stronger accent. Definitely Russian, given the last name on the ID.

"You left your purse, your bag -"

I hold up the small clutch.

"Yes, yes, thank you, yes."

She reaches out to grab it allowing the door to open and suddenly the two Great Danes leap out at me in the dark and the night. It didn't even occur to me to react, I just stooped and started saying 'puppies' while petting the friendly waggly dogs.

"Yes, shhhhh, yes yes, thank you, in in in, yes, goodbye, okay."

And with that she works to usher the dogs in and shut the door.

I stand on the porch in the fairy lights a moment and watch her sneak upstairs and realize that she must be an escaped princess from this little castle, out on the town and wanting know one to be the wiser. I suddenly feel like the hero of a modern epic, for surely, by running the wallet up to her door I have saved her any amount of endless trouble in the morning. I am epic and might. I'm terribly amused.

Friday, June 08, 2018


I fell out of the habit again,  but it's more like words are mush in my mind and I can't get them to string together properly to capture the moments and the feelings and the spaces I want to capture.

The heartleaping joy of trying to figure out how to navigate new connections.

The crushing depths of unhappy news that I have no ability to control or influence.

The minor success.

The minor random strangeness that comes and goes in my life.

And without the documentation it is all missed and it all disappears into a memory chute that only occasionally activates when I have the chance to tell a story one more time. It is a bad habit to fall into.

There has been travel and there are stories there.

There is the weird and the wondrous and the woefully ominous, and the augury that makes me want to know what is coming, and the fear that makes me want to hold carefully back.

I have been busy.

I have been lazy.

I have been lost.

I have been found.

I have solidify through silence a love that is so deep and powerful and overwhelming that silence became a deafening blackness bringing clarity to everything.

There has been clarity.

There has been unfocused madness.

And then there is just me still swimming.

Sometimes it's the little things, the quick rambling action that helps to kick start everything else.

And so.